Excerpts from The Sea and the Bells (Pablo Neruda, translation by William O’Daly)



One returns to the self as if to an old house

with nails and slots, so that

a person tired of himself

as of a suit full of holes,

tries to walk naked in the rain,

wants to drench himself in pure water,

in elemental wind, and he cannot

but return to the well of himself,

to the least worry

over whether he existed, whether he knew how to speak his mind

or to pay or to owe or to discover,

as if I were so important

that it must accept or not accept me,

the earth with its leafy name,

in its theather of black walls.


excerpt from (H.V.)

…his lack of trust in himself grew worse

as if anyone were ever able to convince

those who never believed in themselves

to not wound themselves in their war

against their own shadow. They are as they were born.


It Happens

They knocked on my door on the sixth of August:

nobody was standing there

and nobody entered, sat down in a chair

and passed the time with me, nobody.

I will never forget that absence

that entered me like a man enters his own house,

and I was satisfied with nonbeing:

an emptiness open to everything.

Nobody questioned me, saying nothing,

and I answered without seeing or speaking.

Such a spacious and specific interview!


To consider the physical self, the house of the soul, no more significant than a vanishing wind or a transient vine to the leafy earth, to face nothingness and nonbeing, to plunge headlong into battle against one’s lonely shadow, and to emerge with a pyrrhic victory , satisfied with nonbeing, to be no more than a resounding gong? Or, to be, despite unceasing, remorseless, decay in a world infinite beyond comprehension, an uncracked bell sounding a perfect note of lovely truth and perfect brotherhood? 

Note to self: melancholy is bad for you, just look at Sylvia Plath


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